People have actually said to me, “You mean your church doesn’t have pews? Everyone knows that a church is supposed to have pews!” Oh really? Where is that written? There is a definite reason why we have chosen to use chairs instead of pews (fixed seating) at PCC. It is the wisest decision we could make. Consider these reasons:
People today have come to expect their own individual seats. Personal space is highly valued in our society. This is why boxed seating is highly prized at stadiums. Even movie theaters provide individual seating. This is what people are used to. If they come to church and are forced to sit on a pew, too close to another person, they get uncomfortable. In fact, about the only place where pews/benches are used in American society today are at funeral homes and the cheap seats at football games.
Having chairs also provides us with more flexibility in seating arrangements. We can take chairs out of the room if attendance is low, and add chairs when attendance is high. It’s encouraging to our congregation when additional chairs must be brought in as people keep arriving. And it is very discouraging to worship in a church service when surrounded by a room full of empty seats; pews are big and bolted to the floor and cannot be removed.
We can also set up chairs in a way – set at an angle - so that each person can see someone else’ face during the church service; which dramatically improves how people respond. There is something very engaging about looking across the room and seeing the smiling faces of others; a much better option than the traditional shotgun arrangement of pews in which everyone is compelled to look at the back of everyone else’s head.
Finally, chairs are more comfortable than pews; especially those hard, wooden ones. Comfortable seating can dramatically improve the mood of any service. The mind can only absorb as much as ones bottom can endure. Uncomfortable seating is a distraction that the devil loves to use.
That’s why we use chairs…